Rheumatology (including Arthritis)/Questions
In December I had a pretty significant virus with horrible muscle aches, fever, chills, etc. It took me about a month to get over and then I experienced some stiffness in my fingers. My doctor ran a complete blood panel and the only elevated result was my ANA 1:320 speckled on Feb. 5, 2 weeks after my illness ended.
I also have Achilles tendon pain and bottom of my feet hurt but I had the brilliant idea to run inside on our wood floor in bare feet and jump rope same way, I clearly remember my feet starting to hurt and progressing. My original finger pan stiffness has since resolved but in it's place my I have an injury from using my hands incorrectly to overcompensate that is still stiff in the mornings 1.5 weeks out, and now what I believe is a tablet injury from using my new tablet with my hands/fingers while tender. My wrists are also tender because I had been picking up my 18 month old with her weight of 30+ lbs on them instead of using my hands. Not to mention I have been experiencing yellow mucus being coughed up and excess mucus after meals.
I have stiff knees but only when I get up after sitting for a while and I think that plays into the feet stuff I did before the other stiffness set in. To be quite honest with you, I now don't remember the hand stuff being bad.
Anyway, my question is after reading that speckled could be scleroderma, I really freaked myself out because my GP says the Rheums at Wake Forest won't even see me without Raynards which I do not have (I pumped gas today and my fingers had turned red because of being bent to pump so I stood outside and my hands looked the same, maybe the fingers got a little redder, maybe but no obvious color change) or other skin symptom and an ANA of 320. I am just trying to tell my story to someone who knows more than me and I completely respect you for talking to strangers about this, and trying to make sure if I just drop this in light of what appears to be pain due to injuries that I'm not doing the wrong thing. Does anything going on strike you as scleroderma? I have three small children, I use my hands and am on my feet 95% of my day. I do not have traditional GERD or anything else I've seen as a symtpom, only stiff fingers due to injuries and my feet issues. I really need some reassurance right now because I think it's amazing you've had it for 15 years, everything I read was so dire and I just have to be here to raise my babies. If you could give me your opinion, I would appreciate it so much.
There doesn't seem to be anything that screams scleroderma, including the speckled pattern on positive ANAs. ANAs are only used by a doc to firm up a diagnosis that's already been formed by medical history, appearance and symptoms. There is a small percentage of systemic scleroderma patients that do not have Raynaud's, but the people I've known without it (or without it at the time) still have other major symptoms, like skin tightening, GERD, other GI issues, and profound fatigue. There are people with positive ANAs without any current illness.
It's been 18 years for me now, and if you're worried about raising your babies, let me just say my aunt with scleroderma has had it for 50 years and not only raised her own but also one of her grandkids! It's a blessing to do it in health, but being sick doesn't usually stop moms. ;-)